Starting an orthodontic practice can open a pathway to financial freedom. Yet you must know how to start an orthodontic practice that stands out if you want to last longer and make an income. According to IBIS World, there are 70,796 orthodontic businesses in the U.S. One of the most critical aspects of your practice is the building itself. But there is more. Discover how to start an orthodontic practice by establishing a functional building.
1. Care for Your Parking Lot
The first place clients see in your practice is your parking lot. If you want to learn how to start an orthodontic practice that leaves a smile on clients’ faces, care for your parking lot. Start with the layout and design. Ensure the layout is marked and there is adequate space for maneuvering. If you operate at night, have ample lighting to promote visibility. Looks are also essential, so engage pavement cleaning services to clear debris and dirt.
Next, consider your traffic flow and signage. Can someone park at the right spot hassle-free without asking for support? To achieve this, use universal signage so anyone can read. Also, have different lanes for patient pick up and drop off. That way, you can decongest the lanes and reduce delays. Increasing the parking lot for capacity and flexibility depends on your patient volume. You can also add speed bumps to manage vehicle speeds and increase safety.
Remember that a parking lot can be the reason patients return for your services. One report by Inrix found that 40% of drivers are likely to avoid businesses with parking issues. Your parking lot is the first chance to make a positive impression on a prospective client, so do it right.
2. Keep Your Facility Pristine
First impressions are lasting impressions in health businesses. A good way to learn how to start an orthodontic practice is to think about hygiene. If someone finds a dirty glove on the floor, they’ll assume you haven’t sterilized the needles. So, it’s essential always to keep your facility pristine. The best part is you can engage a commercial cleaning service—so you don’t have to do it alone.
One of the things you have to think about is waste management. You’ll have clinical waste from the normal waste generated, such as waste paper. Start by developing a comprehensive waste management protocol. You can hire someone to handle your waste at regular intervals. Also, train your staff on handling and separating waste to make handling easier. Having designated areas for waste management also ensures hazardous waste is handled with care.
When choosing materials for benches and floors, choose easy-to-clean ones. It’d also be best to have cleaning protocols and procedures from the start. That way, cleaning services won’t be doing random procedures. It is also essential to follow hygiene protocols set by dental organizations. As a health business, you may have to clean more frequently than other businesses.
3. Renovate Your Bathrooms
Did you know that 26% of customers will leave without doing business because of a dirty restroom? That is according to the 10th Annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey by Bradley Corp. So, if you want to know how to start an orthodontic practice, consider renovating the bathrooms. It’s a simple act that may keep customers from leaving before engaging with your services. Start with design and aesthetics. Bathrooms may be functional rooms, but style improves the ambiance and mood.
But aesthetics is not enough—add comfort and privacy. If you don’t have many restrooms add resting benches. For other people, a bathroom is a place to recollect thoughts. So, add soundproof materials to keep the constant noise out. Bathroom odors will put others off. New construction plumbing installation should put mechanisms to reduce odors. A quality air freshener may also keep pesky odors at bay.
Another thing some businesses tend to skip is making bathrooms accessible. Patients and visitors should be able to locate the restrooms easily. Further, accessibility features such as grip bars make using the restrooms easier. You can also enhance safety by installing non-slip flooring.
4. Add Electrical Wiring
Don’t skip on electrical wiring if you want to know how to start an orthodontic practice as a professional. The good part is you don’t have to do the wiring yourself—a commercial electrician can do it. Yet a basic understanding of what’s important will ensure a seamless process. For starters, safety and compliance is the most basic foundation. All electric wiring must meet building codes and safety standards. Also, consider installing appropriate surge protection systems to safeguard sensitive orthodontic equipment.
You should put a functional lighting design in place next. As an orthodontist, you’ll depend on good lighting in examination rooms. Work with experts to design well-lit environments with both natural and artificial lighting. Treatment and examination rooms will need special lighting–so the wiring should support that. To save on costs and reduce environmental impact, use energy-efficient LED lighting. It would be best if you also had the patient in consideration by using flexible lighting options.
From the start, plan electrical infrastructure to support advanced orthodontic equipment. For example, install wiring for computer workstations, digital imaging systems, and scanners. You can also add charging stations for mobile devices and patient communication systems. Some patients appreciate a business that entertains them while they wait for service.
5. Maintain Your Plumbing
Like electricity, plumbing is an essential part of any orthodontic practice. Any practitioner who wants to learn how to start an orthodontic practice must plan for plumbing. As a start, you have to think about plumbing efficiency. So, plan for regular inspection of plumbing fixtures and pipes for leaks. Consider installing efficient plumbing fixtures to conserve water and reduce utility costs. Local drainage contractors can help you ensure efficient wastewater removal.
Patient convenience and comfort also matters and can determine if they return. When designing treatment areas, locate sinks conveniently for patients to rinse their mouths. If you have any procedures, add features to ensure an adequate hot water supply. Restrooms also need a constant supply of water and robust plumbing systems. Have a plumber check the fixtures to ensure all water is draining and there’s no bad odor. When putting in place a plumbing system, have potential growth in mind to allow for upscaling.
To reduce your overhead costs and impact on natural resources, implement sustainable water use practices. You can install low-flow faucets and toilets to conserve resources. Low-flow fixtures allow continuous access to water without wastage. You can go a step further than most by using eco-friendly plumbing materials.
6. Install New HVAC
HVAC bills might be one of the highest on your utilities. Saving in expenses is essential when determining how to start an orthodontic practice. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 50% with energy-efficient HVAC systems. Not only can you save on costs, you can also reduce your impact on natural resources. Programmable thermostats can help you optimize temperature control and energy consumption. Proper insulation is also crucial for preventing heat loss.
However, energy efficiency without comfort may not work well for your practice. So, implement zoning strategies to customize the temperature in different rooms. Thus, your clients will feel comfortable without you spending too much on utilities. Soundproofing may also be an extra measure for a peaceful and calming environment.
As a good practice, don’t put maintenance on the back burner when starting your practice. The last thing you need is the AC system breaking down on a busy business day in summer. Schedule regular professional maintenance for the HVAC system for optimal performance. You can achieve this is establishing a relationship with reliable air conditioner services.
7. Add Flooring
Consider your flooring when thinking about how to start an orthodontic practice. Even if you are unfamiliar with the multiple options, a flooring contractor can help you. Ensure you are working with a contractor with experience in the health industry. So, what aspects should you consider when choosing a flooring option? First on the list is durability. You’ll handle high traffic volume, so the material should be strong. Also, select materials that are slip-resistant, easy-to-clean and noise absorbent.
Next, go for a flooring design that’s both functional and visually appealing. Start by selecting flooring colors and patterns that are calming to the eyes. Patients coming for orthodontic appointments are likely full of anticipation. Your flooring option can help them take their mind off their pain. Did you know you could use flooring to ease navigation within your practice building? You can use flooring designs to mark zones, for example, using different colors.
When it comes to specialized areas, check the needs, then look for a suitable flooring option, such as commercial epoxy floor coatings. For example, in the sterilization area, use chemical-resistant flooring. On the other hand, use warm and inviting flooring in the reception and waiting area. Shock-absorbent flooring materials can provide comfort for patients during treatments.
8. Renovate Your Waiting Room
Your waiting room is where patients go after seeing the receptionist. It should be calming, welcoming and comfortable. For comfortable seating, provide sofas with ample space for patients and companions. Set up a small entertainment area with magazines or books to reduce boredom. Designate a play area with toys and kid-friendly entertainment if you tend to see kids. Some patients may also want privacy, so separate seating areas or use partitions.
If you want to learn how to start an orthodontic practice, make your patients happy. When it comes to colors, choose soothing colors that create a relaxing atmosphere. You can also throw in some personality with interactive displays. For example, you can show orthodontic treatments and oral hygiene practices. Work with reliable remodeling contractors to give the waiting room a different look. Have them integrate technology by providing charging stations and Wi-fi access.
An often-forgotten aspect of the waiting room is convenience and accessibility. Make your practice different. For starters, make the check-in process seamless. Design the reception desk with clear signage and self-check-in options. The waiting room should have enough storage space for patients’ personal belongings. You can add convenience with restrooms and baby-changing stations.
9. Upgrade Your Windows
To learn how to start an orthodontic practice, you must pay keen attention to efficiency. An efficient building saves you costs and reduces the impact on the environment. The windows are a good target for your efficiency efforts. Thus, choose windows that are energy-efficient to reduce heating and cooling bills. Some window treatments also reduce heat transfer, so shop for those. Look for a suitable balance between lighting, energy efficiency, and UV protection.
Yet energy efficiency is not all you have to think about–privacy and comfort matter too. Select windows with higher levels of opacity to enhance privacy. Alternatively, you can use blinds, curtains, or window films to adjust the light. Some patients will feel uncomfortable if anyone can hear what they say in a closed room. So, consider installing soundproof windows to reduce noise disturbance. Ensure the windows open well for a comfortable environment, or install ventilation systems.
Windows are not simply functional–they are also aesthetics. So, assess your practice’s branding and overall style. What makes you stand out in a sea of logos and brand mottos? Express it in your windows. Some businesses add decorative elements such as stained glass to improve the look. Windows are also a good opportunity to advertise your business. So, add your logo and signage to attract people to your business.
To bring it all together, your building is critical when determining how to start an orthodontic practice. Some practitioners only concentrate on the service rather than their facility’s location or look. As some statistics have shown, many prospective clients will leave a business simply for how it looks. So you have to go out of your way to make clients feel respected, cared for, and thought about.
Some key aspects of any orthodontic practice are the layout, efficiency, and comfort it gives to clients. Balancing the three aspects may be outside your skillset, but luckily you can work with professionals. A good tip is to avoid trying and doing everything by yourself. Follow the above nine tips, and your practice will stand out in a sea of providers.